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              FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2012, file photo, NRA president David Keene speaks during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting in Washington.  Senators plan to introduce a bill that would ban assault weapons and limit the size of ammunition magazines, like the one used in the Newton shooting where 20 children were killed, shot multiple times with a high-powered rifle. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

EXCLUSIVE: NRA president backs Reince Priebus for RNC chairman

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

NRA President David Keene is wading into the race for chairman of the Republican National Committee by expressing support for the re-election of Reince Priebus, who is expected to win another term but is facing a last-minute libertarian challenger.

The Daily Caller obtained a copy of the letter, which was sent to the 168 voting members of the committee on Sunday afternoon.

In the letter dated Jan. 18, Keene says Priebus has “proved himself a strong and unwavering advocate of the conservative principles so important to Republicans and the future of the country.”

“His media appearances were invariably effective as he came across consistently as a common sense conservative who could communicate with the average voter,” he said.

Added Keene: “I’ve worked with many RNC chairmen over the years and can honestly say that I think Reince has already proved himself one of the best.”

Mark Willis, a RNC committeeman and former Ron Paul delegate from Maine, says he’s challenging Priebus. But Willis has his work cut out for him: Under party rules, Willis needs two committee members from at least three states to even be nominated.

The election is slated for Jan. 25 during the committee’s winter meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

Sources inside the committee tell TheDC that Priebus already has commitments from nearly 150 members. There are 168 Members on the RNC, and 85 votes are needed to win.

View the letter below or click here to read it:

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